Making change sacred through attention & ritual
2017 was a big year for Vanessa. She turned 30 in the spring, and the transition into a new decade of her life compelled her to think about what she wanted the next ten years of her life to bring. Read on for how she used Lent as a transitional ritual in order to sanctify and find her higher purpose as she entered her 30s.
Before Vanessa’s 30th birthday earlier this year, the transition from 20s to 30s weighed heavily on her mind. Challenged by a friend to reflect on all she did and all that happened in her 20s, she remembered that she started her 20s off with a bang by making some really dumb decisions and getting dragged home to Texas by her dad, then went on to swing through the rest of the decade in total reaction mode: putting out one fire after the next, or pursuing whatever happened to grab her attention. “I realized that every single one of those things was a reaction to external circumstances. Everything I’d managed to do over the last ten years was not something I wanted to do, it was a reaction to something else,” Vanessa says.
Though having come a long way since her early 20s, Vanessa realized that in her 30s, “I don’t like that. It's not me. I don’t want to live like that. I can’t live like that.”
Feeling so out of alignment with her true self and seeing so clearly what she didn’t want, the next natural question, Vanessa says, was to ask what she did want. Certainly, she wanted to live purposefully, with intention and attention, and in alignment with a higher purpose. But what would that look like over the course of a decade?
She used Lent to find the answers.
For Vanessa, fasting, prayer, meditation, and study in a Mormon context have offered meaning and valuable cosmic inspiration, but she knew that finding the right answers to the questions she was asking now, questions with a decade-long answer, questions about cosmic purpose, might not come in just a day of fasting and prayer. She needed more.
Reflecting on this one evening, she turned on the news and learned that the Pope had opened Lent in Italy, which meant Lent in the United States started the next day. “You mean there’s 40 days dedicated to reflection and inspiration and getting answers from God about my higher purpose in life?" Vanessa thought to herself. "Sign me up.”
Lent is designed to mirror Jesus Christ’s 40-day desert sojourn, in which he realized his true calling as savior. It’s a period of great self-reflection and self-realization. And that’s how Vanessa used it.
Every day for forty days, Vanessa journaled intensely, with the intention to observe what ideas came to her and what of those might serve her future. Whereas in her 20s she lived in crisis mode, to begin her 30s, she simply brought attention to what what might bring her in closer alignment her higher purpose and what might help her get there. She filled an entire journal with thoughts, ideas, meditations, and inspirations, and when Lent came to a close, Vanessa synthesized the inspiration into four long-term goals for her 30s—strengthen family relationships; graduate from college; bolster her financial savings; and build a meaningful career—and the ways she’d accomplish them over the decade.
That certainly isn’t the end of the story—in next week’s Love Lesson, we’ll discuss the simple ways Vanessa continues to use ritual to remember her sacred transition from 20s to 30s, and to remember her goals, but the Love Lessons in Vanessa’s use of ritual to intentionally transition from where she was to a higher plane are worth noting...
To begin moving toward a higher plane (God, Self, cosmos), Vanessa began by paying attention. She reflected on her 20s and realized she didn’t want to live like that in her 30s. She journaled and meditated intensely for 40 days during Lent. She analyzed and synthesized her meditations.
How can you pay attention?
By participating in ritual, Vanessa informed the cosmos that she was ready for change. By setting goals at the end of Lent, she put wishes into her own heart and the universe regarding what she intended for the next decade.
What do you want?
Connect with Self
Vanessa used ritual, meditation, and journaling to connect with her higher self and to realize her higher purpose.
Who are you?
When Vanessa payed attention, set intentions and made wishes, and connected with her true self, she made space for inspiration to arrive.
When I think of Vanessa, the words "self-made woman" are the first that come to mind. Vanessa has built seemingly disparate life and work experiences into a satisfying career, currently focused in publishing. Through her commitment to self-care and cultivating her intuition and relationship with her Higher Self, Vanessa's authenticity is one of her greatest assets.
And she teaches me to be my best self. I consider her a dear friend, my personal accountability partner, and in my personal girl gang. She reflects and offers feedback in a way that's empowering. And she takes no shit.
She also helped me apply and get accepted to a mentorship program in my field of health and wellness. She took the time to research the program, analyze my application, and walk me through the big-picture pros and cons of the program, as well as the details of my application approach. She went on to connect me with industry professionals with whom networking would be valuable.
She can help you with the same. Vanessa is offering resume consulting, redesign, placement, and interview coaching up to 8 hours for the first 10 Her Love Lessons subscribers. And at least one hour of those will be geared toward personal goals, rituals, and application of Her Love Lessons material to professional skills.